Imperishable Gravity

Sara Abbasian
October 28  —  November 16, 2016
-1 × UndergroundGF × Ground Floor


Mohsen Gallery is pleased to announce Imperishable Gravity sculptural installations and drawings by Sarah Abbasian. On view from October 28th to 2016, Imperishable Gravity is Abbasian’s fourth solo show with the gallery. Mohsen will hold an opening reception on Friday, October 28th, from 4-9 pm.

Abbasian’s multimedia practice probes the role violence plays in human society. In the installation We Will Never Recall Past for Compensation (2015), realist sculptures of flesh and bones are displayed below blurred portraits. The images appear to have been produced by a forceful facture then defaced, thus themselves subject to a sort of violence. The subjects’ frontal or profile poses and bare scalps recall mug shots or photographs taken by nineteenth century European anthropologists engaged in the racist science of craniometry. The series from the same year, The Night-Blind Do Not Show Mercy to Each Other, might similarly be read as a series of portraits, but of nonhuman subjects. Abbasian takes as her subject a species of cannibalistic bats not to naturalize violence, but rather to provide a metaphor the ruthlessness and self-destruction of the human race.

In the present exhibition, Abbasian turns to another creature, the tortoise, in order to comment on contemporary affairs. Living and working in a region increasingly under the threat of destabilization by internal and external forces, the artist presents an Armageddon vision in which even a creature that is mythologized as the symbol of patience and longevity feels it must take shelter and prepare to defend itself. Visitors to the exhibition enter Depot— a permanent part of Sara Abbasian’s series focusing on sculptural installations and conceptual post-apocalyptic settings. In each series, according to the concept of the show, she parodically accumulates objects to reveal baneful side of humanity.

Transformed into a bunker, darbast space is hung with gas masks, plates of armor, explosive belts, and grenades, all fit for tortoises. Viewers are invited to touch and wear these accouterments of terror, identifying at once as instigator and victim and showing the proximity between the two. An imposing tank at the center of the room follows the shape of a tortoise shell, again expanding the analogy to human proportions. These life-size, iron sculptures are accompanied by pencil drawings made with a forceful hand, depicting headless or multi-headed tortoises seemingly deformed by the war into which they have been drawn.

At once impressive and horrifying, Imperishable Gravity acts as a fantastic mirror for our contemporary world and the death and destruction that surrounds us. Far from reveling in this fact, however, the work aims to shock only so as to awaken and to inspire fear in order to spur action. In brief, Abbasian’s art might be taken as a warning.


Sara Abbasian (b. 1982, Tehran) has exhibited widely in solo and group shows in Iran, the larger Middle East, and Europe. Her solo shows include Defenseless, Mohsen Gallery, Tehran (2013), and 1388, Tajrish St., Tehran (2010). Her most recent group shows are SCOPE, Basel, Switzerland (2015); Made in Iran, AB Gallery, Lucerne, Switzerland (2015); and an exhibition with Imago Mundi Art (Luciano Benetton Collection), Venice, Italy (2015). Abbasian earned her B.A. in Painting from Payam Noor University in Tehran, the city where she currently lives and Works.